Posts filed under ‘Lunch’
What’s a girl to do when the fridge is running on empty and she’s in need of a speedy meal? All I had besides a shelf of staples (coconut milk, chia seeds, tahini and coconut butter) was the following:
- half a container of roasted red pepper hummus
- half a carton of grape tomatoes
- several cups of cooked spaghetti squash
So that’s I made for my lunch concoction… the simplicity of the dish far exceeded the complexity of the taste. I added a tablespoon or so of hemp seeds with a dash of salt and freshly ground black pepper and it was a tasty dish!
I should have known hummus would be good with spaghetti squash…it’s compliments just about everything! I’ll be making this again on purpose with a few more add-ins for some additional bulk. I am thinking chickpeas or navy beans, sautéed greens and roasted broccoli or caramelized onions. (I have a weird thing about always wanting something green on my plate.)
4-Ingredient Spaghetti Squash Hummus “Pasta”
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Nut-free, Egg-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Quick
drizzle of olive oil
4-5 grape tomatoes, cut in half or quarted
2-3 cups cooked spaghetti squash
1/4-1/3 cup of roasted red pepper hummus (or your favorite flavor – roasted garlic would be delish)
1 Tbsp hemp hearts
salt and pepper to taste
Your favorite add-ins if desired (roasted veggies, chickpeas, grilled chicken or crumbled sausage etc)
- In a small skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat.
- Add squash and tomatoes and saute until warmed through.
- Stir in hummus and hemp hearts. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!
*This serves one person; for a weeknight family meal quadruple the ingredients. You could always microwave all of these ingredients for a 5 minute meal as well.
Healing is a journey. Besides the physical, it’s also emotional and mental, and just like seasons in life, it can be difficult while beautiful at the same time. I’ve learned to slow down and take time to really breath, or even have a good cry. I’ve learned to really appreciate sleep and listening to my body instead of my “normal routine”. My hope is that this doesn’t come off as complaining or whining, but more as a self-check and better understanding of myself and what my body wants and needs.
For the past 3+ years, I was up by 5 or 6 am and wouldn’t be in bed until midnight or 1 am. Even though I was making healthy food choices and working out, the constant rush-rush, go-go lifestyle and sleep deprivation finally caught up with me.
Add candida, adrenal fatigue, constant sinus infections, viruses and food allergies… my body hit a point and said “NO! Slow down!”. No wonder my body wasn’t keeping up…even though I tried to convince myself I was SuperWoman, that’s far from reality.
My priority now is healing… slowing down, and making sure I get a good night’s rest. If I don’t get enough sleep one night, I’ll take a nap or sleep longer the next night and call it an early evening.
Another thing I’ve enjoyed is simplifying, and that goes for cooking too. Batch cooking and making meals that don’t require 20+ steps or 30 different ingredients. I’ll get the urge to try out a more time-consuming recipe but simple recipes such as this roasted carrot and beet soup are tasty and no-hassle!
This soup is silky in texture, a bit earthy from the beets and cumin and comforting. It’s appropriate for this time of year too –looks a little like Halloween with the orange base and the green “cheese”!
Cumin-Roasted Carrot and Golden Beet Soup
Grain-free, Nightshade-free, Gluten-free, Vegan/Vegetarian Option, Dairy-free, Paleo-friendly, Egg-free, Nut-free, Sugar-free, Soy-free
6-7 medium organic carrots, peeled (if desired) and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
2-3 medium golden beets, peeled (if desired) and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes (can use red beets but will change the color)
2 shallots, chopped into chunks
1 Tbsp olive oil (can sub coconut oil or butter/ghee if you do dairy)
1/4 tsp ground turmeric, divided
rounded 1/4 tsp ground cumin, divided
1/2 tsp dried thyme, divided
1/2 tsp sea salt (I used smoked sea salt for a smoky flavor)
2-3 cups bone broth, low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable stock/broth (use veggie if vegan/vegetarian), or more to reach your desired thickness of soup, I prefer a thicker soup
2-3 tsp lime juice (or lemon juice for a different flavor)
For serving (optional)
chopped cilantro or parsley for serving, optional
Summer squash “cheese” or non-dairy cheese, optional but adds depth of flavor
If you like a little texture in your soup, cubed or sliced avocado
aluminum foil (to create foil packets)
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Lay two large squares of aluminum foil down, placing carrots in the middle of one square and beets in the middle of the other. Divide the shallots evenly and place on top of each.
2. Combine herbs, spices and salt in a small bowl (turmeric through salt).
3. Drizzle each of the veggies with 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil, then sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over the vegetables.
4. Fold the foil up, creating a seal with each packet and bake for 30 minutes or until tender, the carrots cooked a bit faster than the beets, so check them at 30 minutes.
5. Add roasted veggies and remaining ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Top with cilantro or parsley, squash cheese and/or avocado and enjoy warm!
*If you prefer to roasted your carrots and beets on a baking pan instead of in foil packets, that’s an option too. I like how the foil packets steam the veggies a bit first and then after opening the pouches, I can brown them a bit.
Stovetop Preparation: You can always sauté the carrots and beets first a bit in a dutch oven, add the spices for 30 seconds until fragrant. Then add broth and remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and let cook until the carrots and beets are tender and soft, about 15-20 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree or add soup to a blender on high until velvety smooth (Yay Vitamix!). Season to taste with more salt and lime juice if desired.
Slow cooker meals are a lifesaver after a long day of work. I get home, I’m hungry and I’d prefer not to spend a couple hours in the kitchen. I’d rather heat up or whip up something quick to eat and be able to enjoy “free time” outside of work in the evenings. While cooking is certainly a passion, it can seem more like a chore at the end of a busy day.
When I find a recipe that can be used as a base for multiple meals, it’s a definite winner. This slow cooker pulled chicken is just that. I served this dish as a filling snack over a half of an avocado, over a bowl of cooked grains and lentils with green onions, as an add-in to a smoky veggie soup and as the main dish with some cabbage slaw and pickled onions. You can also serve this in a wrap, over a salad, in a panini, as a pizza topping or as a topping to a baked potato or yam. Can you say endless possibilities?
Let’s not forget the BBQ sauce — Apple cider vinegar is such a versatile ingredient and I love love LOVE the taste! It’s bold and tangy, and adds a lovely zip to dishes from soups and salad dressings to marinades and main dishes. While lemon and lime juice have their places, apple cider vinegar has a place in my heart all it’s own. Naturally, when I came across Lauren’s recipe for a Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken and Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar BBQ sauce, I knew I had to make it.
This month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment was Lauren’s delicious and crafty blog Sew You Think You Can Cook. I knew Lauren was a great match when I came across fun flavor combos such as her Hummus Waffles with Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Sweet Potato and Chorizo Hand Pies, Coconut Shrimp with Bloody Mary Dip and Parsnip and Blueberry Baked Oatmeal. While I chose her Pulled Chicken and Apple Cider BBQ Sauce, with my newfound love for parsnips, you can be sure Lauren’s baked oatmeal will be made in the next week or so!
I made a few changes to Lauren’s recipe based on what I had on hand. I had a combo or chicken breasts and boneless, skinless chicken thighs and I really loved the flavor that the richer thigh meat lent to this dish. I swapped out the sweetener for maple sugar and used smoked salt instead of regular sea salt. I made a special grocery store run to buy gluten-free beer…I didn’t want to swap that out so I could stay true to the recipe, though now I have several bottles of beer to experiment in other recipes :) Thanks Lauren for this recipe, I’ll be making this again!
Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken (recipe adapted from Sew You Think You Can Cook)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo-friendly, Soy-free, Refined Sugar-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or a combo (I used 2 chicken breasts, 4 chicken thighs)
1 1/2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp granulated sweetener (maple sugar, sucanat, coconut sugar)
1 1/2 tsp ground mustard powder
1 tsp cayenne (can reduce if you are sensitive to spicy food)
1 bottle or can (12 oz) gluten-free beer
sea salt and pepper to taste (I used smoked salt)
1. Season chicken with salt and pepper generously. Place in the bottom of a slow cooker.
2. In a small bowl combine paprika, garlic powder, sweetener, mustard powder, and cayenne. Sprinkle over the chicken.
3. Pour beer into the slow cooker. Cook on LOW 5-7 hours until the chicken shreds easily.
4. Serve as a sandwich, wrap, over grains, over avocado, as a pizza topping, on top of a salad and drizzle withe apple cider vinegar BBQ sauce (recipe below).
Apple Cider Vinegar BBQ Sauce (recipe adapted from Sew You Think You Can Cook)
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Paleo-friendly, Soy-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free
1 1/2 C apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 Fresno chili pepper, deseeded and halved
2 tbsp sweetener (coconut sugar, maple sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat then reduce to a simmer. Cook 20 – 30 minutes, or until a desired consistency is achieved. Remove the garlic and chili pepper, if used.
I’m notorious for grabbing the quickest, easiest option in the fridge to snack on when I’m hungry. Just like shopping at the grocery store on an empty stomach, my least healthy food choices are made when my blood sugar is low and/or I am unprepared. If I wash and pre-cut veggies, there’s a much better chance of grabbing them than if I had to wash and prep them, and same goes for an accompanying dip.
As much as I’d like to smother EVERYTHING in traditional hummus, legumes haven’t been sitting too well with me. I’ll indulge on occasion — just because they are SO good… and meaty, velvety beans are an ingredient I really enjoy. Instead, I reserve beans for a rare occasion, and have tried different versions of hummus for an alternative veggie dip.
When I found myself needing to prep veggies and make a dip for the week for lunch, I knew I had to whip up something to satisfy my hummus craving. I blended some leftover roasted parsnips with some raw zucchini, and I was surprised at how addicting this dip is! I took the traditional flavors of hummus and spiced it up a bit with a chile-infused oil from our lovely Just Tapped oil and vinegar store (love these owners!). You can use plain olive oil or avocado oil if you’d like and sprinkle in some crushed red pepper or omit the pepper altogether and add a bit of lemon zest and extra lemon juice for a nice zing.
If you haven’t experimented much with parsnips, they are the BOMB! A sweeter, yet slightly spicy cousin of the carrot, parsnips have a velvety texture when they are roasted much like a winter squash. Simply roasting parsnips with a little oil and sea salt make some epic “parsnip fries” and a great side at dinner or a hearty snack when you need a starch fix.
This parsnip hummus is slightly sweet yet spicy with a smooth creamy texture, perfect for a filling snack or as part of a meal. Serve with your favorite chopped veggies, use in your favorite wrap, smear over gluten-free crackers, or dip with plantain chips or sweet potato chips!
Parsnip-Zucchini Hummus (Bean-free)
Nut-free, Paleo-friendly, Nightshade-free option, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Sugar-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Vegetarian, Vegan
2 medium parsnips, peeled and cubed
1 medium zucchini, peeled and cubed (can use yellow squash as well)
2 Tbsp tahini*
2 1/2 Tbsp olive or avocado oil, divided (I used chile-infused)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4-1/2 tsp ground cumin
juice from one lemon
dash of cayenne pepper (omit if you don’t like spicy)
1/4 tsp sea salt plus more to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375F. Tear off a large piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper and place cubed parsnips in the center. Drizzle 1/2 Tbsp of oil over the top, then create a foil or parchment packet and roast 25-30 minutes until tender and lightly golden brown. Remove from heat.
- In the bowl of food processor or a high-powered blender (ie. Vitamix), add the following in order: lemon juice, garlic, tahini, 2 Tbsp oil, spices and zucchini. Blend until smooth. If you are using a blender, you may need to use the tamper.
- Add the roasted parsnips and process until smooth. If you prefer a chunkier hummus, pulse to desired texture. Season with additional salt, pepper and lemon juice if preferred. Refrigerate to chill for an hour or two, then enjoy!Notes:*The tahini I buy (in bulk) is really runny, if yours is thicker than a creamy salad dressing, you may need to add an extra drizzle of olive oil.